From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John King '37

Date of birth: March 8, 1915

Date of death: August 15, 1942

Age: 27

Lucky Bag

From the 1937 Lucky Bag:


John was lost on August 15, 1942, possibly while piloting an aircraft for Scouting Squadron (VS) 72 aboard USS Wasp (CV 7), near the Solomons Island.

John has a memory marker in North Carolina. His wife was listed as next of kin; he was also survived by his mother and a sister.

He was designated a Naval Aviator, #10136, in 1941.

Note: USN overseas aircraft loss database shows VS-72 as operating from USS Hornet (CV 8) during this time period. VS-72, which was operating from Wasp during this time, doesn't show any losses on or about this date. Neither carrier's wikipedia pages show any action on this date; Wasp was being refueled to south of Guadalcanal and Enterprise was flying in support of the landings.

His listing late in the Class of 1937 is due to his being maintained in a missing status until officially declared dead on December 4, 1945.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

January 1939

Ensign, USS Perkins

Others at this command:

October 1939

Ensign, USS Perkins

June 1940

Ensign, USS Perkins

November 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Perkins

April 1941

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Perkins

Class of 1937

John is one of 45 members of the Class of 1937 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.